It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to finishing school.
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea--and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.
But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right--but it's a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine's certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.Okay, confession time. I have the first book in Carriger's Parasol Protectorate adult series and haven't actually gotten to read it yet. :) I had an opportunity to read her YA mostly out of curiosity. What was all the fuss about? I knew it was the same world (25 yrs prior to the other series) so I thought this would be a good place to start.
I was not disappointed. The writing, the whole tongue-in-cheek way of thinking and talking really had me smiling. It was fun. And I just really enjoy a book that is all about the fun. I really enjoyed the main character, Sophronia (although I'd love to hear it pronounced... not in my head... LOL). She was quite juvenile before going to the school, but in some ways reminded me of Anne Shirley (Green Gables). Someone who's curiosity is more than her common sense. In a time where women were seen as property, I always enjoy this type of rebellion. :)
Sophronia grows up fast and is put in a place that is quite confusing at first. In fact, I still don't know exactly what the school's end game really is, but oddly enough that never bothered me. Her time there has her realize her potential and Sophronia shines. Her growth is exponential and while seeming almost 10 years old in maturity at first, she is quite grown up in just a few chapters. It's like a light went on within and she really shined at the school.
There is intrigue and adventure. Loved the secondary characters especially Soap. No real romance to speak of, but hints that it may come at a later time. I understand that this is the first in 4 books and I can't wait to start on the next. Oh and it has me wanting to dive into the other series even quicker.
I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I really enjoyed my time here and I recommend it to those that enjoy fun YA, inquisitive girls, or just want to get their feet wet in steampunk. I don't think you'd be disappointed.
I received this book from NetGalley and Little, Brown and no compensation for my review was given.